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Increase assistance for TBI family caregivers

Often times, family members are called upon to provide a variety of care and services after their loved one returns home following a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, our insurance system and governmental assistance programs do not provide compensation to the service provided by these family members.  What is is missing from this analysis is that these family members are foregoing real economic opportunities to provide this care which has a true financial value.  If the care was provided by third parties, payment is made, if care is not provided by a family member, then the TBI victim may end up back in a nursing home or other facility where care is again paid for.

Finally, some relief is in sight.  The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has given approval to a proposal made by Senator Clinton which will provide increased assistance for wounded warriors and the caregivers who support them.  The Committee included the proposals, originally introduced in Senator Clinton's Caring for Wounded Warriors Act, in a package of health care measures that will be added to the comprehensive Senate bill to address the needs of veterans.

"When our brave wounded service members return from deployment, their families and loved ones are often called into tireless service to care for them. These important measures approved today will provide aid and support to those compassionate caregivers who give so much of themselves every day. They are the unsung heroes of the homefront and deserve all the help we can give them," Senator Clinton said.

The provisions approved by the Committee support two pilot programs through the Department of Veterans Affairs, improving the resources available to those caring for troops who have been injured while on active duty.  The first program would certify and train family caregivers of veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury as personal care attendants, qualifying them to receive compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The second would leverage existing partnerships between Veterans Affairs facilities and the nation's premier universities, training graduate students to provide respite care for families caring for wounded warriors suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Here is what the Brain Injury Association of America has said about this important piece of legislation:

"Traumatic brain injury not only affects individuals but entire families as well.  The Brain Injury Association of America applauds Senator Clinton and Members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for their leadership in passing this legislation, which compassionately and responsibly provides much-needed supports to family caregivers of service members with TBI," said Susan H. Connors, President and CEO of BIAA.

The efforts of Senator Clinton should certainly be applauded.  However, what is also needed now is legislation to improve the detection, assessment and treatment of TBI, as well as expand the support systems for family members and victims of TBI in the general population.  Let's not forget that TBI is not just a military issue.  The civilian population must receive similar services.



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Mother to a child with a TBI

Thanks for recognizing that there are families with children who have TBI's as well. There's way too much focus on adults with head injuries while we have children being affected hourly with TBI's from abusive head trauma and MVI's. Of course we're simply recognized as the process of parenting regardless of their high level of need for care.

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